The Quest for Aliveness: Somatics, Psychedelics, & Trauma Healing


Episode 224

Will Rezin

In this Psychedelic Podcast episode, Paul F. Austin welcomes Will Rezin, mystic, philosopher, and coach, to explore the worlds of psychedelics, somatics, and trauma healing.

Dive into Will's profound healing path, shaped by ayahuasca in Peru. Together, Will and Paul go beyond the conventional body-mind separation, drawing on key approaches to healing common to both somatics and psychedelics.

Their conversation envisions a trauma-free future that extends beyond personal healing to embrace relational, societal, and environmental transformations.

Will Rezin:

Will Rezin is a mystic and somatic teacher. He is a leading expert in the field of personal development with a focus on trauma education and somatics. Will has a unique approach that combines somatic practices, early developmental movement theory, esoteric philosophy and trauma theory with traditional coaching methods. He's the co-founder of Trauma and Somatics where he trains practitioners to become trauma-informed, and the co-founder of The Truth Foundation where he and his co-founder, David Gonzalez, are on a mission to End Trauma.

Over the past 18 years, Will has immersed himself in studying human development through the lens of culture, psychology, biology, physiology, mysticism, myth and behavioral change. He is trained in Somatic Experiencing®, Core Energy Leadership Coaching, Early Developmental Trauma, Karmic Astrology, Jungian Archetypal Psychology, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Amazonian Shamanism and much more. Will integrates many therapeutic models into his work with clients and his teaching with students.


Podcast Highlights

  • Exploring the work of Dr. Peter A. Levine.
  • Will’s psychedelic healing path and ayahuasca experiences in Peru:
  • Beyond the body-mind separation: unpacking somatics.
  • Essence vs. Personality: integrating intuition and wisdom.
  • Modulation and titration: keys to healing in somatics and psychedelics.
  • Will’s mission to eradicate trauma in the world.
  • Envisioning AI’s role in healing trauma.
  • Beyond personal healing: relational, societal, and environmental transformation.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.1 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave. I'm your host, Paul Austin and today I'm speaking with Will Rezin Mystic philosopher, coach and co-founder of Trauma and Somatics.

0:00:15.6 Will Rezin: Having this basic understanding of nervous system stress responses. I went to Peru and I experienced Ayahuasca. And during my own experience with it, I was like, this is doing something. This is doing something to the vagus nerve. This is doing something to the nervous system, hot flashes, cold flashes, digestive changes, psychological, cognitive, emotional changes, and things like that. And so I had this real interest in diving deeper and understanding these things.

0:00:42.4 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance, and collective transformation.

0:01:20.3 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, today's podcast is brought to you by the Apollo Wearable. I first started wearing the Apollo in the midst of the COVID quarantine over two years ago. It helped my body to regulate itself, to calm down, to stay more focused, and to meditate in the morning. And I use it to really regulate my nervous system in a time of incredible stress, and I've continued to use it on a day-to-day basis. It is indispensable in my daily routine. Here's the thing, the Apollo is a wearable that improves your body's resilience to stress by helping you to sleep better, stay calm, and stay more focused, developed by neuroscientists and physicians. The Apollo Wearable delivers gentle, soothing vibrations that condition your nervous system to recover and rebalance after stress. I tell folks that it's like a microdose on your wrist that helps you to feel more present and connected, especially when in the midst of a psychedelic experience.

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0:04:31.9 Paul F. Austin: Hey listeners, this is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave, and today we're diving deep into the intersection of Somatics, psychedelics and trauma healing. My guest is Will Rezin. Will is a mystic philosopher, Somatic coach and trainer and trauma integration specialist who guides individuals on the often mystical and winding journey of waking up to their own aliveness. He's the founder of Formative Somatics and Co-founder of The Truth Foundation, as well as the Trauma and Somatics Professional Training program Will integrates 21 years of inner work, esoteric inquiry, and cultural research. With 13 years of professional experience in the healing arts, everything Will does supports his personal mission to end human suffering and his professional mission to bring trauma-informed care into the mainstream so that it can be available to everyone who needs it without stigma or exclusion. In our conversation today Will takes us through his profound healing path shaped by his Ayahuasca experiences in Peru.

0:05:35.9 Paul F. Austin: Many, many years ago. We unraveled the Cartesian approach to body and mind, that is the separation of body and mind and explore key approaches that are common to both Somatics and psychedelics. We dive into Will's ambition to eradicate trauma in the world, and look at how both Somatics and Psychedelics, especially when used together, can help us to move beyond personal healing, to embrace relational, societal and environmental transformation. Now, if you haven't already, follow the Psychedelic podcast wherever you're listening to make sure you never miss any of our weekly episodes. And if you've already been following us here, drop a review in Spotify, in Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts. We love hearing how this podcast is impacting you in big or small ways, and you can help even more people find the podcast by doing this. Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Will Rezin... Will welcome to the the podcast.

0:06:41.9 Will Rezin: Thanks for having me, Paul. It's good to be here with you.

0:06:45.5 Paul F. Austin: Let's start by talking about Peter Levine you've mentioned him a couple times. In the conversations that we've had leading up to this podcast, I sense that he has had quite an influential impact on your practice and who you've become. So I'd love you to start with for our audience, who is Peter Levine and and why has Peter, been such a an influential teacher in your life?

0:07:12.3 Will Rezin: Yeah, Dr. Peter Levine is the founder of the Somatic Experiencing Approach. So it's a trauma treatment or trauma resolution modality that he started working on. Gosh, I don't know, it was probably back in the seventies. He wrote his dissertation, I think in '78 if I'm '78 or '79, it's available online for people to read, but he was studying animals and the way that they, they respond to stress so stress physiology and that over time led him to experimenting with working with humans. I think he, his history is in a lot of different disciplines, so I'd say he's a multidisciplinary educator at this point. But he discovered something really interesting about the stress response cycle, and he became friends with Dr. Steven Porges, who's the founder of the Polyvagal Theory. And together they, what Dr. Porges was theorizing, Dr. Levine was discovering in like real world interactions with his patients.

0:08:22.9 Will Rezin: And so I discovered his work 2015 he wrote a book called Waking the Tiger, and this is a book that a lot of people have read talks about animal models and the nervous system, and then his work with that in people. And his initial foray into this was through Shock Trauma. I discovered it because my mother's a psychotherapist and she began going through the training. And the Somatic Experiencing Training is a three year long training program that teaches practitioners how to apply Dr. Levine's method to their work, whether it be body workers, therapists, and now, they're letting certain kinds of coaches join the training. But essentially it's so that we can help with advanced trauma resolution, post-traumatic shock, developmental trauma and assortment of different things. Dr. Levine is known for discussions around trauma and his research in the field of trauma. So how did he influence my development?

0:09:28.1 Will Rezin: After, right before going to live in Peru and study with the Shipibos I sort of, how might we say this? I audited an at-home training module that my mother was doing, and it just, it blew me away. I was like what he's talking about is the same thing that mystics have been teaching about for hundreds, thousands of years. It's just he's putting it into different words. And so having this basic understanding of nervous system stress responses, excuse me. I went to Peru and I experienced Ayahuasca. And during my own experience with it, I was like, this is doing something. This is doing something to the vagus nerve. This is doing something to the nervous system, hot flashes, cold flashes, digestive changes, psychological, cognitive, emotional changes and things like that. And so I had this real interest in diving deeper and understanding these things.

0:10:36.3 Will Rezin: For those that are listening or watching, you can read a book called In An Unspoken Voice, that book by Dr. Levine. It will walk you through his model and explain the nervous system components trauma, the way that he sees it. It's, and then his take on some things that I think we may talk about today, which is catharsis and other forms of like we could say bioenergetics or cathartic expressive arts therapy types things. So reading this book opened me up to some things. I went and do headlong into a training with him. And I didn't work specifically with him. There's a, there are many trainers all around the United States and all the world.

0:11:20.8 Will Rezin: Now, the institute is in many, many countries, but I began that journey and through that, I discovered this is the science of Shamanism, Ariana, Joy and I, the co-founder and my ex-partner co-founder of Trauma and Somatics, the company that I run, she and I were having these conversations about this of like, this is the science of shamanism.

0:11:44.0 Will Rezin: And this is that undercurrent, it's putting into language in a different way, right? We have story, myth, allegory that earth-based cultures, indigenous people will often use to describe things that we will use different words to describe here in the Western world. We'll use the language of science, but they're pointing at the same thing, right? Clusters of nerve ganglia in the body where we would call them chakras, right? For instance. That's not something that came up in the training, but that's just an example.

0:12:19.0 Will Rezin: So we embarked on this journey, and throughout this journey, I'm realizing that actually working, there's a map for working with the subtle energy inside a human being. And we can say there's a map for working with the nervous system's response to stress, stress and overwhelm. Dr. Levine says, trauma is anything that's too much or happens too fast for the nervous system to process or anything that's too little for too long, right? And so we have shocking events which leave an imprint in the body that comes back as a reaction to a trigger in the present moment, right? So a sensory cue that's similar to something that once was, but the body can't differentiate. And then we have something like neglect where the body or the individual doesn't have their needs met in an ongoing basis for too long. And that creates an adaptive response in the system, right?

0:13:10.7 Will Rezin: So we have our conscious mind, which is the interpreter of all the things that we're experiencing, but underneath it we have this really complex system, the autonomic nervous system, all of the different systems in the body that are interacting with our environment and sending us signals of safety or threat. And Dr. Levine's work is part of the picture or was part of the picture for me, and really understanding it. I began practicing and the results that I started getting with clients just, they blew me away. I feel like a wizard sometimes when I'm doing things. It just things happen.

0:13:51.9 Will Rezin: There's an unfolding that occurs in the individual that I'm with, and change takes place and it's like a mystical experience, this reintegrating the, the fragmented psyche, so to speak, which psyche just means soul anyway. And through this work, I better understand the analogy of soul fragmentation.

0:14:10.4 Will Rezin: And Dr. Levine talks about this, I don't know if there are any recordings of him that are public, but he talks about the real mystical shamanic nature of this work where the psyche or the soul becomes somewhat fragmented when we experience overwhelming shocking events. And the reintegration of that has a pattern and it is a very mystical experience that the individuals experience quite frequently when they're healing, when they're integrating.

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0:15:30.3 Paul F. Austin: And that's because in Magic Mind, there's something called L-Theanine and Matcha in and of itself, it has enough caffeine, but it's a really balanced, energetic profile. As always, with Third Wave and The Psychedelic podcast, I wanna bring you the best products out there. And so if you're looking for something to help with flow, productivity, mental clarity, memory recall, I highly recommend checking out Magic Mind.

0:15:56.4 Paul F. Austin: Just go to, use the code Third Wave to get 10% off. They'll put you on a monthly subscription, and that's gonna allow you to consistently work with this magical morning shot to improve your performance, productivity and memory. Again, that's, and use the code Third Wave to get 10% off. I want to get into the practical aspects and talk through even if working with a client, how do you approach that, what do you sort of weave them through?

0:16:28.9 Paul F. Austin: But before we get into some of that, I'd love to hear a little bit more about your personal story, you mentioned sort of woven into that as like a little bit of a, a diamond that you went and you sat with the Shipibo in Peru. Many, many years ago. And I'd love if you could just open that up a little bit more. What, what drove you, what was the impetus to go down to Peru and to sit with the Shipibo? Why, why were you drawn to, to that path?

0:16:55.5 Will Rezin: Well, back in 1999, I discovered LSD.

0:17:00.3 Paul F. Austin: Okay.

0:17:00.4 Will Rezin: And between '99 and 2001, I was, I just dove headlong into this thing that, this experience that not only changed the way I experienced reality, but helped me to feel like I was connected to everything.

0:17:21.7 Will Rezin: It began as me running away from my pain and having difficulty integrating traumatic experiences that I had as a teenager. And then it led me to deeper understanding of myself, which started my path towards healing, right? And so I experimented with as many Psychedelics as I could back then and extreme amounts. I once took a hundred hits of acid and I drove across the United States.

0:17:49.2 Paul F. Austin: Oh my God.

0:17:51.1 Will Rezin: Yeah. At 14 hours of driving across, I don't, and I don't recommend this to anyone this is, at this point in my life, I'm like, that would be a really poor decision.

0:18:00.5 Will Rezin: But back then, I was young and oblivious to the risks to me and to anyone else. And I wanted to discover what are the limits of me? What are the limits of my experiences? Back then, I didn't think about it as healing. I thought about it as having fun. And I probably would've called it getting high. And people nowadays often call that at going for a spiritual journey. But I think there's so much of these experiences there's so much to these experiences that is rich just in a playful way.

0:18:37.0 Will Rezin: So anyway, back to how I found myself in Peru. I went through this period of experimentation with many, many different psychedelics, and then on the other side of that, I pulled away from psychedelics and altered states for awhile. I had a friend that showed back up in my life and wanted to go exploring around the world. And he was in a transition point in his life and he was thinking Japan and I recommended Peru and he just said, "Fuck it, let's go." I was like, "Alright, let's go." And I read a book back in, I guess it was 2001 called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. And that book was wonderful for me at that point in my life. And it's a hero's journey of the main character goes to Peru and discovers himself, connection to energy, to the environment, to other human beings. And that inspired me, they went to sacred sites and it seemed like everything in my life was organizing so that I could go to Peru. Once I made the decision, I bumped into a man who had lived there, he was working with Huachuma, talked to me about his experiences with that. He'd written a book about his time in Machu Picchu back in the '80s, before it was heavily traveled. He actually spent the night up there, had a shaman or a medicine person from the mountains just show up in that little cave where he was sleeping.

0:20:15.0 Will Rezin: Really, really fantastic stories about this mystical or serendipitous thread of life that draws these people to these experiences. And I said, "I want that, I want that." And I also believe that there's in a way that the humans that still live close to the earth around the equator here on our planet, it's like we can time travel. If we go deep enough into remote areas of the world, we are traveling back in time, away from technology, away from the industrialization and away from the long arc of history. So we're just in touch with humans as they used to be in a way, that fascinated me. So while we were there, we had this wonderful serendipitous experience of, it was a little freaky at the time that we flew into Lima, Peru, we didn't speak Spanish and we expected there to be WiFi, we got five, three minutes of WiFi and that was it. The guy that I was with was determined, he did not want to have a place for the night that we landed, he just wanted to wing it, the next day we had something scheduled on an Airbnb. So we arrive, we download the localized version of Google maps, we find a place on TripAdvisor that's close to the airport. I don't know if you've been to Lima, but close to the airport is not where you wanna stay as a white American. [laughter] And well, I don't know if it would matter what color you were, but especially as a white person, it was not the area to choose. So we get into...

0:21:53.4 Will Rezin: And I'm like, "Let's get a secured taxi." "No, we have to get a different taxi." And I'm like, "Alright, man." So we find our way outside to this beat up Suzuki sidekick, an English speaking person guides us to this man who doesn't speak English. And they put us in this vehicle that's just beat to shit and we couldn't even get in one side 'cause the door didn't work. So he starts driving us and we're like, "Oh my God, the roads are destroyed, they're falling apart, they're all gravel in this one section." He takes us down this road and they're burned up cars, the buildings are still messed up from earthquakes and from the war in the '90s where they weren't rebuilt. And we end up at these giant steel gates, probably two stories, three stories high, and they're open enough for a vehicle to get in and there's an old burned up car in front of one of the other sides. And the driver pulls into this roadway, there aren't any streetlights, the road is just uneven and falling apart, pavement and potholes and whatnot. And we come up to this one painted house, this building, it's a three story and it's painted on the front.

0:23:03.0 Will Rezin: And that's our hostel or our hotel, and I'm like, "What the fuck? Where are we? Are we about to get robbed?" We've got our guitars, we've got recording equipment, microphones, we've got all sorts of stuff with us. And we get out and he starts trying to negotiate with this guy about the cost and neither of them speak the same language. And they're trying to figure it out meanwhile, I'm standing on the side of the road and this car pulls up and a guy gets out and I'm like, that guy's familiar. On the airplane connecting from San Salvador, El Salvador to Lima, Peru, I saw this man in the airport, in the airplane, and he and I connected eyes and he walked back to his seat. And I looked at him again and I'm like, "This guy was on our flight." And so we kind of nod and acknowledge each other and he pays his driver and he goes inside and the front desk guy ends up coming outside and he's trying to hurry us in, "Not, not safe, not safe. Don't stay out here in the dark on the street." So we get inside and this guy Tito he helps to translate, so we hadn't had water in like 12 hours except for when we were on the airplane. And we get into our room and we come downstairs and Tito's in town because he owns a seven acre property outside of Iquitos.

0:24:34.0 Paul F. Austin: So down in a place called Tamshiyacu and he's there to work with the medicine, and what I wanted was to go into the jungle and to have some of these experiences with some older teachers. And it just so happened that this man recognized us from the airplane and we sit and we talk for three hours. We talk about our intentions for being in the country, we exchange information and he invites us to his land and tells us he'll introduce us to his teacher of 15 years or 17 years or whatever it was. And so we ended up getting into our Airbnb, we spend a couple of weeks in Lima and then we fly to Iquitos and we ended up meeting him. And that was the beginning of our journey into experiencing Ayahuasca. So the first experience I had wasn't at some fancy center, it was out in the jungle, it was a five hour boat ride, an hour little like motor car tuk-tuk ride out into the jungle and then a 30 minute walk hiking into his land. And on his land, he had a small shack and we sat in these plastic chairs or on the floor and experienced Ayahuasca for the first time. And... The first night, not too strong, second night, he's like, "Alright, I'll give it to you strong, I'll give you stronger experience of it." And oh, my gosh, it was it was familiar to me because I had tried DMT and LSD and all the things.

0:26:10.3 Will Rezin: There was a research chemical that was legal for a while called AMT, α-Methyltryptamine, and it's a derivative of DMT or not a derivative, but it's a molecule different or so. And we were buying it from a chemist before it became scheduled and this was early 2000s. And that was something you took for 24 hours and it was the closest experience to Ayahuasca, it was a chemical, but it was the closest experience to Ayahuasca that I'd ever had. 10 or 15 grams of mushrooms will kind of give you a similar disappearing experience, but I was like, okay, this is familiar, but different. It is uniquely different because of the way it acts on the body. And I became really curious, so we planted ourselves in Iquitos for a couple of months, and we got to meet a number of the owners of the different centers. There's a restaurant called Dawn On The Amazon and we met the owner at the time and we hung out there. We helped him to get high speed internet there because we were working from there. And the guy I was with helped him to rebuild and redesign his website and take photographs of the menu and all this that we integrated into the community there for a while. And I ended up getting invited out to Nauta and worked with one of the teachers from the Ayahuasca foundation, Don Enrique and Don Miguel, the two of them, and that was a wonderful experience as well.

0:27:32.7 Will Rezin: I was out there for about a month and I got to do a two week water fast among all the other medicines that they give you. But a plant yet and various learnings at various different places. And when I came back to the States, man, it was a really strange experience because I lived there for about 10 months.

0:27:58.7 Paul F. Austin: You were in Peru for 10 months. Wow.

0:28:01.4 Will Rezin: We got an apartment inside of Lima and we'd fly to different places.

0:28:04.5 Paul F. Austin: Okay.

0:28:06.0 Will Rezin: Did some hiking, spent some time in Cusco and in the sacred Valley, it was a beautiful experience, man. And it informed coming back into Western world it really heavily informed how I integrated my understanding of trauma work, because these real intense experiences can be also very difficult for the nervous system to process. For instance, I had one of those really hard journeys while I was down there and it took me some time to integrate that and for my system to recalibrate after the intensity of that particular experience. But I had a context for it once I began studying Peter's work, once I began studying the Somatic Experiencing model. And so that all integrated into my coaching practice, and I have since expanded my exploration to lots of other different teachers, but body oriented or not just body oriented, man. I use the word Somatic, right? And when you were reading my bio and the introduction as Somatic coach, often people will ask me what that means, because you hear that word used a lot. Many people just use it to reference a body based approach, but the word Somatic is a bit more nuanced than that, it's our living wholeness. So it's more than just the body, it recognizes that the body is our container, right? But everything happens as a result of being a bodied human, right?

0:29:44.3 Will Rezin: A bodied being, so to speak. And so Somatics is that whole constellation of all the parts of us. It is the thoughts that emerge, it is the sensory experience, it is the movement or the postural experience, it's the emotions that we're experiencing and it's all of these facets. But it's also our sense of purpose, belonging, our spirit, the greater context within which we live, right? As an individual. So it's so much more than, and diving into that field just opened me up to these teachers, these masters that so few people, in my opinion, know about. And they... When you hear stories about these folks, they didn't become highly popularized in the therapeutic world, but what they could do with an individual was like wizardry. It... We don't have words for it and I call it that because in Western medicine, you don't see the kinds of changes or the kinds of understanding of an individual in other places. There are a number of teachers, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Stanley Keleman, just to name two, but many others, Eugene Gendlin, Moshé Feldenkrais, so many others. Yeah. And the way that they're able to work with the body, with an individual, both the body and the mind and the spirit, all integrated into one experience, that kind of change is sustainable. And one thing in common that I think all these people had, was an understanding that change is nonlinear and it takes time.

0:31:35.8 Will Rezin: Much the way it takes time to change the shape of our muscles or to change the shape of our body, a fundamental change to our personality structure takes even longer or more methodical attention, right? To these progressive changes, right? I don't go to the gym and expect to change in a week, I don't expect to change with a massively intense workout, I'm gonna be sore when I come out of the gym, right? There's gonna be a, an aftershock we could say to the system and a recalibration that will occur, but I don't have an expectation that my body's gonna change shape after doing that one time. I understand that it's gonna take me six months to a year to really fully change the shape of me. And when we're working with the psyche, when we're working with the patterned responses or the neurological responses in the body, it takes even longer sometimes to change those things. We wanna change, I often say to clients, I wanna support your system so that the automatic responses that you have to the world change on their own, right? So my reflexes are now different to sensory input, if I changed them, changing a reflex takes time.

0:32:53.0 Paul F. Austin: Right. Yeah. 'Cause it's subconscious or unconscious, it's tucked below the way that we navigate our everyday reality, even the egoic structure, so to say, as we go below it. So there's a lot there, there's one thing I wanna further unpack a little bit, which is the etymology of the word Somatic. What is the etymology of the word Somatic?

0:33:20.7 Will Rezin: Somatic comes from the word Soma, which is Greek and it's of the body, I think is the direct translation, but it translates further in context to our living wholeness.

0:33:35.7 Paul F. Austin: It does. Okay.

0:33:38.6 Will Rezin: Yeah. And you know how the Greeks had many words for many different things, right? How many words that we have for love, different kinds of love, different kinds of affection, and Soma or Somatic is just another one of those words that had a different contextual meaning. It's in the medical community it's used mostly to reference a bodied experience, just a body like psychosomatic meaning mind body, right? Now, in Western thought, we separate those two as if somehow they're separate, we point to our head as if our brain itself is where the thinking happens. And I think that that came on the heels of Descartes, but the mind is the body.

0:34:23.0 Paul F. Austin: Right.

0:34:23.2 Will Rezin: And the brain is like the governor of like, if we think like a machine, the brain is the regulator of the sensory input and all of the systems. But it's not... I wouldn't say it's where the mind resides, I'd say the mind is in all of ourselves. If you listen to or read any of Candace Pert's work, she's a researcher that used to work for the NIH. But she wrote a book called Molecules of Emotion, and they've now been able to measure that. And she wrote a book called the body is... Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind, I think is what it's called or it's an audio book, which is a compilation of a couple of different lectures. But what she points to is that when we're having an emotional experience or when a thought occurs, the thought is often a feedback from a sensory signal somewhere in the body. And when an emotional experience is occurring, it's not just occurring in one place, it's occurring everywhere. And the cells are resonating or vibrating, or they have impulses that are occurring so we can feel that sensory experience all over our body. And it's no different, right? A thought is that emergent property of the signals that are happening inside of our system. So this more bottom up, top down approach, we think of them of it like that 'cause we split the body being everything below the neck and the mind being everything above.

0:35:48.7 Will Rezin: It's more of an integrative approach with Somatic, Somatic says, okay, you're a whole organism, let's evaluate you as an organism, let's evaluate all the different dimensions of you. Your emotions, your sensory experience, your reflexes, your bodily experience, your thoughts, your way of making meaning or interpreting your experiences in the world. Let's take all of that into consideration when we're working.

0:36:18.5 Paul F. Austin: The integrated approach, the 360 assessment of everything that's happening.

0:36:24.0 Will Rezin: Almost.

0:36:24.4 Paul F. Austin: And going on. Right. If I think about it from like a business or executive context. And I think that aspect of stepping outside the frame of mental health, right? And really looking at health, not only as the mind and the body, but also I think this element of spirit and maybe what I mean by spirit is the connection to land, the connection to ancestry, the connection to lineage, right? That we've been so... Because we're homeless in many ways and particularly in the United States, and we're so disconnected from that lineage, that land and really culture in and of itself. That what I'm hearing from your experience and going to Peru for 10 months and in a way going backwards in time and being with the Shipibo, there's a way that you can tap into that full aspect of wholeness. Because in a way with the current paradigm that we exist within the sort of modern industrial paradigm, sure, we can optimize the mind and the body. But this capacity to really heal the spirit in our current set and setting is a massive undertaking, just because of the structure that we exist within.

0:37:39.0 Will Rezin: Yeah. And that's a thing that you and I kind of were talking, riffing on before we began this, the recording here today. I think that, it's a yes and to what you're saying about my experience there, I was, I chose to leave the context that I was in. And being outside of that context helped me to see the, recognize the, context in a different way. But it also helped me to connect to myself in a way that was totally different. And some of the healing modalities, or the healing techniques, the interventions that they use, were a little too intense for my body because my body didn't grow in that environment. But some of them were incredibly potent at stimulating, healing that here in the western world wouldn't have been approached that way. Right? So there's this, I'll reference Gurdjieff here.

0:38:39.0 Will Rezin: He talks about the difference between essence and personality. And this, there's a short little clip in, his book, in search of Being. There's this clip in the beginning where he talks about essence and personality, and he says, essence, if you wanna see our essence, our essence is in it's obvious, within indigenous cultures, go to somewhere on the planet where there's not a lot of technology. Where the, humans are living in more of a tribal setting, and they're in, communion with the little band. They live in a biorhythm, in sync with the earth and with its surroundings. Essence is that intuitive guidance is the connection to living things. It's a feeling, sensory experience, so to speak. Personality emerges by having a historical context for us across time. So I understand my place in the world based on where my ancestors have been, and society and culture.

0:39:46.1 Will Rezin: Now, essence doesn't generally have that sense of point in time. It's just time is all right now, like an animal, right? We're here in the present moment, and the moment comes and it goes, and it, but we're staying present, with it all the time. Understanding our historical context often disconnects us from the present moment. So we can have this personality that has emerged beautifully where we're disconnected from our ability to intuit, or sense or feel our surroundings in each other. But with, that essence piece, we don't have a connection to our, the arc of us across time. And Gurdjieff argues for the integration of these two parts, for, humanity to, really live in wholeness. Maybe it would be my words. We want to integrate our ability to feel, our ability to sense, to be connected to intuition, to the earth, to our environment, to be here in the present moment, along with our sense of our historical context across time, because that teaches us about ourselves and helps us to develop, and that is that our tendency as an organism is to grow and to develop until the point of entropy.

0:41:04.3 Paul F. Austin: Right. I love that framing, the essence versus personality. It is a both and not necessarily an either or reminds me of a similar polarity of spirit and shamanism, I'm sorry, science and shamanism. Right? , or this, polarity of, even with this third wave of psychedelics, they talk about the first wave being more indigenous, ancient use, and the second wave being more scientific methodology and precision, around it. So, I, the essence versus personality really, really, really resonates. And sort of the natural question that I have that follows from this essence versus personality is clearly we've over-indexed on the personality element, right? And, so there's a way in which somatics and psychedelics bring us deeper into essence. I'm just curious your thoughts on what is that relationship between, somatic work and essence to start with. And then we can kind of weave in psychedelics into that, because I still want to dive into sort of calibration and titration and these sorts of Things.

0:42:13.4 Will Rezin: Yeah. Well, I'd say the bridge there is, well, a somatic experience, right? An experience of myself, let's just say, can be almost psychedelic in nature when I'm fully in the present moment. You mentioned earlier about a Vipassana retreat that you're headed towards, right? Well, Vipassana, when practiced well, we can get into these really deep altered states just tracking our sensory experience. Well, really well done, artfully done somatic experiencing work helps an individual to touch into those things, but to do it in a way that is generative for their system, for their body, right? So without getting stuck in big peaks, right? If I had speakers here and I stuck my microphone against the speaker, it's gonna feed back really, really, really loudly. Our awareness can cause a feedback loop in our body if we place our awareness on something that's really intense or overwhelming. The system, the sensory system just go, does, it's a somatosensory feedback loop, and we just get lost in it.

0:43:30.6 Will Rezin: But somatics, done artfully gives us that whoa, experience of the present of ourselves in context, right? So, and to connect that to essence, when we're connected to ourselves, when I'm connected to myself, my sensory self, my emotional self, my spirit, we could call it, right? I can be connected to my intuitive guidance. I can be connected to my environment, but a natural byproduct of this is that I move a little slower through the world. I'm more intentional, I'm more present, right? And I don't have the need to move as fast as technology. I can move at the speed of nature. And so that is tapping into my essence. And I don't want to get rid of my personality. I wanna be connected to the arc of humanity across time, because that's how I learn and grow. I also, similarly don't wanna reject my sensory experience.

0:44:40.5 Will Rezin: We could think about it like this. I wanna be able to modulate the intensity of my awareness of either, right? Modulation is, it's something that I think we learn with practice, but it has a, really, really supportive effect on us, right? And if we kind of move towards these, the sensory experience for, in psychedelics, somatics, and psychedelics, the integration of these two together might look like, knowing when enough is enough, feeling ourselves learning our boundaries, like learning modulation. Titration is a word that I used with you earlier that you mentioned. Peter Levine uses that word. It's comes from chemistry. If we were to take baking soda and vinegar and mix them together, and I were to just pour a, like let's say I've got a beaker of vinegar, and I just pour a huge cup of, baking soda in there, boom, it explodes.

0:45:48.7 Will Rezin: But if I put, let's say I do it the other way around, and there's a whole bunch of baking soda in the bottom. I can put drop by, drop by drop of vinegar in there, and it'll fizzle and reduce fizzle and reduce. Over time That just looks like water. So it's the same inside our bodies. This modulating our intensity helps our bodies to not explode with whole the intensity, so to speak, of the experience. And Peter uses that analogy because with his work, what he found was that too much intensity triggers the body to go into a survival state. When the body's in a survival state, It's not, there's nothing integrative happening, in fact, that can sometimes re-traumatize an individual. And, what we want to prevent from happening is the retraumatization, or, you know, a new trauma from occurring. So modulating the intensity is incredibly powerful for healing, for integration of an experience. And so when we're living a somatic reality, we could call it, when we're really living from this embodied and sensory aware place, we know how much is enough. We know when to slow down. We know how to modulate the intensity, how to direct our awareness towards or wave from different things on the inside. And our experience with psychedelics changes completely. And therefore, the result of our experimentation or use of psychedelics changes.

0:47:23.5 Paul F. Austin: The classic example is 5-MeO-DMT. I feel like we talked about this when we first had a chance to meet that a lot of folks who come into this will jump in and do a high dose of 5-MeO right off the bat. And for some folks, it goes super well, but for a lot of folks, they end up having issues for a considerable period of time after that. And I think the way that you've described this around modulation, right? Not really feeling the need to completely, I would say, decimate the scaffolding and structure of the self, but instead replacing one thing at a time by moving through a slower process. So I think there is something to be said for this modulation. This is why I love microdosing or low doses of psychedelics in conjunction with body work or breath work or cold plunge or other elements. And I want to emphasize that there is benefit sometimes to the death and rebirth process.

0:48:37.0 Will Rezin: There is. Yeah. And we see it in, like, spread out in culture across time. There is a set and setting and a place for that where the context is held, the community holds that experience with a certain reverence, right? And the individual is prepared. Moshe Feldenkrais once said, health is measured by the amount of shock a person can take without their normal way of life being compromised. And what you're talking about right here is, I have a lot of people will ask me, why do sometimes some people have a destabilizing experience with something like 5-MeO-DMT and others don't? And this is why. Because not everybody has the capacity to manage that kind of a physiological load, that kind of intensity, let's say it differently, right? Not everybody has the capacity to do that. Some people have too many stressors in their life that their body's working hard to manage already. And so it's like Arianna and I have a saying, psychedelics aren't for everyone and they're not for everyone all the time, right? And so it's a matter of the individual that we're sitting with, what's their capacity, how do we measure that, what kind of intake process do we do to gather that information.

0:49:56.3 Will Rezin: And how do we titrate our way to that point? Because to your point, big experiences, which I described having earlier on in my life, big experiences can be really useful and beneficial. They stimulate insight, they can restructure the way we relate with ourselves and with the world, they can bring up things that we otherwise wouldn't notice, right, in the right context with the right support. And those are the two of many elements that I often stress. It's the right context, the right support, and doing it in a way that's sustainable for the individual.

0:50:30.3 Paul F. Austin: One thing we haven't yet talked about, at least not in any significant detail, is trauma, right? So a lot of what you're focused on is this overlap of somatic work and trauma. You also have a nonprofit that you've started that has this mission of what I call net zero trauma maps. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which many of our listeners are familiar with, has set out this net zero trauma goal by 2070, which is ambitious and also a bit of a mindfuck to even think about what that could look like. I mean, something I consider is like, the entire country of Russia must be traumatized, for example, because, I mean, not just in the last 10 years, but if you look at the history of Russia, the Russian Revolution, World War I, World War II, communism, like there's so much that's happened there, and that's just one small example. So I'd love, let's start by maybe zooming out a little bit, and then we can get into some of the particulars to wrap it up. Tell us a little bit about this nonprofit, how it came about, and just a little bit more about your vision of how do we create a world of net zero trauma.

0:51:53.7 Will Rezin: So I'll start by saying, maybe even in a simpler way, I'll quote Dr. Gabor Mate, and I may not get the quote precise, but he says, trauma comes back as a reaction. It's what happens inside of you as a result of what happened to you. And the distinction there is that it's not the thing that happened, it's how we respond to the thing that happened and what happens on the inside of us afterwards. I often like to say, think about it like a reflex. We have something bad happen and then our body responds to any sensory input that's similar to that in a reflex kind of way to keep us safe and alive. It's a real intelligent thing. So if we start there and we say, okay, trauma is the living memory on the inside of us, we've all got that. Every human on the planet that I'm aware of has some version of that pattern. We postulate that trauma is the greatest problem humanity's ever faced, and yet it's the least focused on as a form of helping humanity.

0:53:16.3 Will Rezin: So we believe that that's the one thing, first principles theory, that's the one thing that if we address as a species collectively, that it will change the trajectory of us as an organism forever for good. We are not as optimistic as maps for 2070. Now, we are not focused on the treatment of this, we're focused on the research around it, and we're focused on clearly defining the question. I think that's where we begin. But what causes trauma? And we believe that a lot of things cause trauma, right? You and I were talking before we began, we believe that it is such a part of our history and our culture that it's embedded, like what causes it, these behaviors, have become culture. I think Resmaa Menakem says, and I don't think I pronounced his last name correctly, but he's an SCP, a somatic experiencing practitioner, and a speaker, but he talks about trauma decontextualized is your family traits, right? Or trauma in the family, like that's the family traits. Oh, it's just how the family is. No, no, it's not. That's our genetic history playing out over and over again through the way the organism adapts, right? But that's not our best version. So we believe that culture, and that would be dependent on what country we're living in, religion, all religions have this to some degree or another, family dynamics, politics, right?

0:55:02.7 Will Rezin: Social interactions, advertising, all of it, everywhere in the world sustains our way of conditioning our young to respond to stress in this way. Now, this isn't proven, right? This is our hypothesis, we could call it, right? But we believe that it'll take a minimum of three to five generations for us to do anything about this, because in order to change the way an organism responds to sensory input, it has to happen over time, generation by generation, right? It's not an instant change. It's not a thing that we just so happen to change. I love the ambition of MAPS goal, because if we could work with more people who are traumatized, especially with the intervention structure that they've created, we can help to reduce the symptoms. But then we have to change the way culture relates to conditioning our young.

0:56:06.7 Will Rezin: We have to change the way that we interact with each other. Empathy needs to be a part of every culture on the planet. Well, in order for that to really hit a critical mass point, all the, I believe, all cultures on the planet have to get enrolled in doing this in their own way. Well, that's a pretty huge movement that's required for that to happen. And we as a company are just at the very beginning stages of this. So we've defined our goal and we're raising money. We're in conversations about producing a documentary first round of that next year. And that'll really discuss these ideas in a bit more detail. Maybe have a few experts talk about it. But if we define trauma as that living memory, what we would like to see happen is the relational context support individuals so that that is something that doesn't happen in the same way.

0:57:03.0 Will Rezin: And fundamentally, we are relational creatures. We need to have relationships. We need to be a part of the community. This Lone Ranger archetype that exists here in the United States, it's not natural for us. Nothing about that is natural. I'm born of my mother. I'm essentially one of her organs that came out of her body and stood up and started walking around and talking. So are you, right? Fundamentally, I have to have others in order for me to have gone from infant to adult. It's a non-negotiable for us as a species. But in our culture these days, we're fragmented. We're disconnected from that. We're individualists. We don't value the connection. We're not emotionally available for each other. We're cut off from ourselves. We're dissociated from our emotional and sensory experiences in the world. And in many ways, we have to be because of the way we've built our culture. There's so much input, sensory input, competing for our attention that we have to cut ourselves off from our feelings. And so part of this work that I do in the world, both as an educator and individually when I'm working with people, is softening those layers so that we can come home to ourselves and really feel and be connected and understand, like, how do we interact with the world when the world is competing for our attention in the way that it is? And how do we stay connected to others and foster a deepening of that in ourselves. Tangential way of answering your question.

0:58:47.6 Paul F. Austin: And I have a slightly tangential question or maybe curveball question which you can do with as you wish. How might something like artificial intelligence help to accelerate closing that gap for net zero trauma?

0:59:03.1 Will Rezin: I love that question, Paul. And I'm in a consideration. Did you read or watch the Westworld series?

0:59:14.2 Paul F. Austin: I heard about it and had some familiarity, but I haven't, I have not.

0:59:18.3 Will Rezin: It's fairly violent. What I'll say is the concept that they're working with, at least in the first couple of seasons is based off of a book that was written by Julian Jaynes, The Bicameral Mind, that then they take on artificial intelligence and it becoming conscious in and of itself. But there's a machine in the third season that is a technological advancement that has a way of predicting people's behavior by having access to the information about people's movements and activities in the world, right? And I think there have been many science fiction stories that have been written about this AI, so to speak, that has, for instance, Minority Report, that wasn't an AI per se, it was these beings that could see into the future. But essentially, we have this way that technology shows up in these myths as being able to predict behavior based on its connection to all of our movements. Well, if we look at the advent of social media, we're all carrying devices with us almost all the time. If a machine had access to all of that information, it could begin to make predictions about our likes dislikes our behaviors, predict movements, it could predict all sorts of things. And the more connected a machine gets to humans' thinking, their actions, and so on and so forth, the more likely it is it can predict. Now, I say all of that to set up what I'm about to say here, which is I think that an algorithm would be incredibly powerful for research.

1:01:08.1 Will Rezin: If we had... Now there's a dark side to this because it could be misused. But if we had the means of measuring humanity simultaneously, we could understand what's causing trauma. We could understand what's causing the conditions that we're living in, and by understanding that, we could take an active role in our evolution as a species. And that's something that I think would be incredible for us, but it comes with a potential shadow where it could be abused for gain by somebody else. And so, as with anything, there's the light and there's the shadow to it. I get excited about artificial intelligence because it's a tool and the usefulness of it is absolutely incredible. It's just a matter of who's using it, right? And that, for me, comes down to the level of trauma that the person is living with still, how much healing has that individual been able to do? Are they even interested in it, did their physiology adapt to some sort of circumstance in the womb that led to them being uniquely different? Let's take Bill Gates, for example. Bill Gates can read two separate pages with but one with each eye. His brain doesn't function the way yours and mine does. It's completely different. Elon Musk, his brain doesn't function the way ours does. It's completely different. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the way their brain functions. It's just highly unique.

1:02:41.0 Will Rezin: And that affords them the ability to think differently, to analyze differently, to have these different ways of interacting with the world. Now, if we understood how to treat the trauma imprint of those things, people who have enormous amounts of power, and I'm not speaking specifically about those two anymore, the people who have enormous amounts of power that they've amassed as a result of their traumatic history, the way that they use that power would be different. I don't have the solution. All I have is the question, what caused this and how do we better understand it so that we can prevent it from happening downstream for our children and their children. And that's I think where we need to focus.

1:03:24.4 Paul F. Austin: And that process of inquiry is... I mean it often is both a starting point and an ending point. And one aspect of inquiry that I find myself in, even as you're talking through this, it's like there's always new vistas for utopian ways of thinking, right? So a lot of modern industrialism, the upside of modern industrialism is lifespan has been extended, we have fewer infants than ever who are dying, more people who are out of poverty. The downsides is one could argue the quality of life on the whole. Quality of life is not necessarily great, that even though people are alive, a lot of people are suffering and struggling significantly, et cetera, et cetera.

1:04:10.7 Paul F. Austin: So one question that I think about as well, it's like what even allows us to have this conversation around net zero trauma is that we as a species have been able to address a more pressing issue which was just overall mortality. Overall, people dying at a very young age. And because we've been able to address that, we can now focus on these bigger questions and conversations around, how do we collectively get our species to a point where we don't experience trauma. And I think a question that I would end this on is, let's say we are successful in this goal. Let's say we do reach a world of net zero trauma. What capability, what further capability do you think that that provides for us to create and do in the world that at this point in time is not possible as a traumatized globe and society?

1:05:00.8 Will Rezin: Well, I think what it provides us with is a starting point for living differently with each other and with the world, with the earth itself. I don't think pain will ever be removed from life, but I do think suffering can be prevented, and the way I define suffering is the lingering on of that pain. Pain is part of being alive, but what's possible is us working together. So lots... I think there are advances in medicine, advances in longevity, advances in quality of life, but not just for those of us in the industrial world but maybe a softening of this Intense got to go got to be better than everyone else and instead a let's work more together. It's unique to the Western world this got to compete with everyone else to be first There are many places in the world where that's not the first thought. So I think that what we could have is a starting point, a starting point for something new for humanity. And it'd be hard for us to see what's possible from where we are because we're so conditioned to things being the way that they are. I don't think it's a utopian world, though. I don't. I think hardship's going to be there, and I think it's going to be a part of our lives, period. But I think how we relate with that hardship and how we move through it, that can be different. And life might be, I don't know, more enjoyable. We'll feel more connected with each other.

1:06:54.8 Paul F. Austin: Yeah, higher quality of life. I love this sense of more awe, more reverence, more capacity to experience mystery, better relationships, better food, right? So there are ways that fundamentally we can improve the quality of our existence. And I think, like you said, a lot of it comes back to how we relate, I think, specifically to the earth. And so a lot for me comes back to these conversations around once we heal and go through this healing process, and this is particularly true with psychedelics, we feel this reverence for spirit, we feel this reverence for the natural environment. And I sense that a lot of the task of this century is how do we come back into reciprocity and relationship with the land to not see it as something to be exploited, but to see it as something that is to be regenerated, and is to be collaboratively created with we're not in competition with it, we are in collaboration with it.

1:08:00.9 Will Rezin: And I would also add that when we don't see each other as enemies anymore, we won't see the world as an enemy either. The earth, the landscape. There are creatures that want to eat us. That's real. But our relationship with that danger will change. And I think that the relational piece here is really important to not be put to the side because when two people can meet for the first time and instead of being defensively oriented to that interaction, there's not a need for that defensive orientation. Life, the world's going to change when we're able to do that, even with the cultural differences that exist across our planet.

1:09:03.2 Paul F. Austin: I love it. Will, as a final closing, if folks want to learn more about your work, you have a training program, a certification program in somatics, you do some one-to-one coaching, I believe. Where can they find out more about your offerings and what you're up to?

1:09:19.1 Will Rezin: Yeah, is for the training company. We just started a cohort, but we do have a masterclass we're doing on trauma-informed business that's coming up in two weeks. So anybody that's listening to us... I don't know if this will get out by then, but if anybody's listening, and wants to join us, they're welcome, they'll find all the info that they need at @traumaandsomatics on Instagram. It's where we're most active. You can go to the website as well. And then I'm @willrezin that's R-E-Z-I-N on Instagram. Same thing on Facebook and you can email me will@willrezin or you can go to and learn more about me I do work with a small number of individuals my work is Coaching so it's not trauma focused, but we do address trauma as a part of the whole equation when working together. So, yeah, reach out to me. I answer most of all of my own correspondence. We do have a team that works inside of the Trauma and Somatics Company.

1:10:29.9 Paul F. Austin: Great. Well, thank you, Will. Thank you for your presence and for... Walking with your own type of medicine, living that, I'm just experiencing this in the way that you're showing up. There's a thoughtfulness, a patience, energetically, in terms of how you're communicating and articulating everything. So I appreciate you bringing that presence to the podcast today and appreciate all the work that you're doing out in the world.


1:10:58.7 Will Rezin: Likewise, thank you for having me, Paul. And I appreciate the work that you and Third Wave are doing as well.


1:11:05.6 Paul F. Austin: Hey listeners, Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Will Rezin. Remember to follow the link in the description to get full show notes, any links we mentioned today, as well as the full transcript of this episode. And if you want to continue the conversation, join Third Wave's community. It's completely free at and join in on the conversation about somatics and psychedelics. We'll see you next time.

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